Why I Chose To Cloth Diaper
Cloth diapering is probably the "crunchiest" thing I do. (It wasn't the first, but since breastfeeding is such a controversial topic, I'll save that one for later!) It has come to my attention that "crunchy" is not a term that everyone is familiar with. "Crunchy" is basically another term for "green" or "environmentally friendly." I like the term because it sounds cooler (haha). Plus, "green" gives the impression that I recycle like a maniac, only buy natural or organic products, and am vegan. But that's not me at all (especially the vegan part - I very much love meat!). A friend of mine says I'm hippie. I see why she says that, but "hippie" makes me think of dreadlocks, weed, and "peace, love, and happiness, man." Also not me. So "crunchy" it is!
There are lots of "things" I do that make me claim to be crunchy. And like I said, cloth diapering is probably the most crunchy thing. When I first started using cloth diapers, many people had negative reactions. Here's a sample of questions/comments I heard in the beginning:
Can't you afford REAL diapers?
What do you do with the POOP??!
Don't you have to wash them, like, every day?? And doesn't that take a lot of time, not to mention electricity/water?
That is disgusting.
That's too much work.
And the list goes on and on. I think now that I've been cloth diapering for about 15 months now people have finally accepted that it's just my thing. I've even convinced some that its a better way to diaper. I have to admit, when I first started learning about cloth diapers, I had some of the same thoughts. I knew cloth diapers was what my generation was diapered with, way back in the day. I knew some people probably still used them, cause they couldn't afford "real" diapers. But that's about all I knew. I never had any desire to look into the subject. In fact, at our baby showers, we got so many disposable diapers, we had enough to last until our baby, C, was 4 months old, and we were estatic!
I first heard about modern cloth diapers when C was about 3 months old. I was googling baby pictures to get some ideas for her upcoming photo shoot. I stumbled across one baby portrait and the baby was wearing a cloth diaper. It was SO cute that I started researching where to find a diaper like that. I didn't realize that it was an actual diaper, though; I thought it was just something cute for a photo. That one little picture started it all....I found cloth diapering websites, youtube channels, chat rooms, all kinds of things online. And I learned. I thought it might be something I'd like to try, so I bought a diaper. My first purchase was a Kawaii Baby pocket diaper, and we did use it in C's photo shoot. I also found a woman in my town who was giving away her old diapers. I met up with her and got a bag full. Unfortunately, those diapers were so worn out I wouldn't even consider putting them on my baby, but they were useful for my research.
When C was around 4 months old, we ran out of disposable diapers. It was Easter weekend. She has very sensitive skin (just like her mama), and the only diapers that didn't bother her too much were the Pampers Swaddler's Sensitive. And of course they were hard to find. On Easter Sunday, DH (that's "Dear Husband!") and I went to WalMart to get a pack of diapers. They were out of the Swaddler's Sensitive in C's size, so we bought the Pamper's DryMax. Well, in my opinion, those diapers are pretty much the devil. Poor baby C's butt looked terrible after just one diaper change.
Right then and there I decided I was going to try cloth diapering for real. I did a TON of research, and decided that prefolds and covers would be the best option for me. Well, prefolds during the day, and pockets at night. (I'll do more posts later on the specifics.) I started out using the cloth only part-time, just when I was home with C. Then I started sending her to my mother-in-law's in a cloth diaper, but providing her with disposables to use throughout the day. When C was around 6 months old, I asked my MIL (mother-in-law) if she'd give the cloth a try, and she said yes. After that C was cloth diapered full-time. MIL still had a few disposables left over, and occasionally she'd use them up, but every time C's poor little hiney would get a rash. The same was true for the disposable wipes. When I started using cloth diapers, I switched to cloth wipes as well. Once we all made the switch, disposable wipes really bothered C's skin. There's just so many harmful chemicals in those things!
Obviously, the chemicals in disposable diapers and wipes don't bother every baby, so that's not a good motivation to make the switch. It was a huge factor for me, though. Cost was another factor. Once we ran out of the diapers we got from our showers, I started figuring up how much disposable diapers would cost us. Holy cow, its a lot!! I "saved" over $800 by using cloth diapers in the first 12 months (if only I had actually saved that money!). It would have been more if I'd started using them sooner, when C was going through more diapers a day.
Convenience was another factor for me. I never have to run to town to get diapers or wipes anymore. "Running to town" around here is not the simplest thing in the world. I mean, yes, we have cars and all, but we don't live near town. The closest one to us is 15 minutes away, and the WalMart there doesn't normally carry the kind of diapers that we used to like (at least, they never did when I needed them). So the next option was the bigger town about 30 minutes away. Not exactly a quick run. I never run out of diapers now, because I have more than enough for several days and nights, and then I just throw them in the washing machine.
Cloth diapers are environmentally friendlier than disposables, too, though that wasn't a huge consideration for me (I am ashamed to say). Disposables just sit around in landfills and take for-freakin-ever to decompose. Plus, then you've got human waste sitting around in landfills - ew. When you use cloth diapers, the poop goes into the toilet and into the septic system, where it belongs. Doing something better for the environment wasn't the major appealing thing for me, but I did think it was pretty cool and it did make me feel good!
One more motivation for me: the cute factor. I know, I know, its a diaper, it holds pee and poop - what's cute about that? But, seriously, there some adorable ones out there! And yes, I care about how my baby's butt looks under her dress.
I am proud to say that I cloth diaper. Its not a lot of work (I'll talk about that in a later post). I enjoy it. The only time C gets diaper rashes now is when she eats something that doesn't agree with her stomach, and sometimes when she's teething.
But my favorite thing about cloth diapering? Its led me to make more "crunchy" changes in my life. It opened up a whole new world to me, one I've thoroughly enjoyed exploring. ( :
For more information about cloth diapers:
The Real Diaper Association
Green Mountain Diapers - Tons of really great info, though I've never ordered from this site.
Dirty Diaper Laungry - She also has a YouTube channel.
Sweet Bottoms Baby Boutique - This is where I got the majority of my diapers. They're in NC and they offer free shipping!